Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 26 years. Small town lawyer. President of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center.

Donohue Continues to Beclown Himself

I especially enjoyed his attempted analogy of this situation with a woman who is beaten for twenty years and then blows her husband’s brain out.  Any of you who have ever contributed a dime to Donohue’s worthless organization should demand every cent back.  Discrimination against Catholics and general anti-Catholic bigotry are serious issues and Donohue, in exchange for a burst of publicity, has made certain that no one is ever going to take him seriously again.  Time for Donohue to find another means to earn his daily bread.

PopeWatch: Pessimism







Rorate Caeli posts an absolutely fascinating interview that French Catholic historian Odon Vallet gave with Le Journal du Dimanche.  Vallet, a liberal, is very pessimistic that Pope Francis can achieve his goals:


INTERVIEW – Historian Odon Vallet interprets pope Francis’ very harsh words for the Curia, the group of influent personalities in the Vatican. On Monday [December 22, 2014], the Pope presented a list of the 15 “infirmities” that affected the interior of the Holy See, including “spiritual Alzheimer’s” and “existential schizophrenia”. Odon Vallet is a historian of religions and the author of “God and religions in 101 Q & As” [Dieu et les religions en 101 questions-réponses], [published by] Albin Michel, and he sees a pope who is isolated and weakened.

[Le Journal du Dimanche] How to explain such harshness of Pope Francis towards the members of the Curia?

[Vallet] His words are indeed very harsh. Pope Francis speaks of “mental petrification” within the Curia. After the last Synod (editor’s note: on the family), the Pope sees that his adversaries are at the heart of the government of the Church. In particular, without naming them, the American, African, and Italian bishops.

Do these words express a difficulty in achieving the reforms he set out to do?

Nothing allows us to assume that he will be able to accomplish his reforms. I gather that he has an under-50% chance of accomplishing them. The reform of the Council of Trent (16th century) took 18 years, and required six popes… Pope Francis is 78, his undertaking in the renewal of the Church will be very difficult. Even more so because he has 90% of the Curia against him.

On the other hand he is very much appreciated by the faithful…

He is just as popular in Europe as he is in difficulty with those who are near him. Popularity can give rise to jealousy. Remember the crowd that applauded Jesus at Palm Sunday, and that spat on him on Good Friday.

Do you see in this speech a pope who is cornered, or a chief who is trying to affirm his authority?

Pope Francis comes from the Jesuit school. They advocate discernment and moderation. Today, the supreme pontiff resembles above all an intensive-care physician. I recall that he has already compared the Church to a hospital. Maybe he should have the interest of having his speeches read [beforehand] by more diplomatic persons, because those who approve of them in substance disagree with their form.

But who is he fighting against? Why is he this isolated within the Vatican?

When he was elected, he understood the problems of the Curia poorly. That which he found out went beyond his fears. Even if he has named people close to him, he would need 10 to 12 years to turn the bishops to his side. The problem of the curia is the same of that huge cruiser that ran aground the Italian shores. We can imagine that the cardinals and the bishops set up such a strong inertia in the Vatican machinery that Francis can do nothing about it. His worst enemies are those who praise him in the crowd.

Has he already lost the battle against his internal adversaries?

At this moment, he is in the process of losing it. Silence is gold…and he sets up a whole [new] category of persons against himself each day with his declarations. If I were pope Francis, I would put a cardinal in charge of saying good things about people and of putting oil in the cogwheels, instead of throwing it into the fire.

Can you see pope Francis resigning?

Yes. Even though he can still reverse the trend. His speech is perhaps a way of saying, “I will die standing.” →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

January 9, 1815: Report to Monroe

Battle of New Orleans 2


The day after the battle of New Orleans, Jackson wrote his report to James Monroe, Secretary of War.:

Sir: 9th Jan: 1815

During the days of the 6th. & 7th. the enemy had been actively employed in making preparations for an attack on my lines. With infinite labour they had succeeded on the night of the 7th in getting their boats across from the lake to the river, by widening & deepening the Canal on which they had effected their disembarkation. It had not been in my power to impede these operations by a general attack: Added to other reasons, the nature of the troops under my command, mostly militia, rendered it too hazardous to attempt extensive offensive movements in an open Country, against a numerous & well disciplined army.- Altho my forces, as to number, had been increased by the arrival of the Kentucky division – my strength had received very little addition; a small portion only of that detachment being provided with arms: Compelled thus to wait the attack of the enemy I took every measure to repell it when it would be made, & to defeat the object he had in view. Genl. Morgan with the Orleans Contingent the Louisiana Militia, & a strong detachment of the Kentucky troops occupy an entrenched Camp, on the opposite side of the river, protected by strong batteries on the bank erected & superintended by Commodore Patterson.

In my encampment every thing was ready for action, when early on the morning of the 8th the enemy, after throwing a heavy shower of bombs & congreve rockets, advanced their columns on my right & left, to storm my entrenchments. I cannot speak sufficiently in praise of the firmness & deliberation with which my whole line received their approach:-more could not have been expected from veterans, inured to war. For an hour the fire of the small arms was as incessant & severe as can be imagined. The artillery too, directed by officers who displayed equal skill & courage did great execution. Yet the columns of the enemy continued to advance with a firmness which reflects upon them the greatest credit. Twice the column which approached me on my left was repulsed by the troops of genl. Carrole – those of genl. Coffee, & a division of the Kentucky Militia, & twice they formed again & renewed the assault. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Quotes Suitable For Framing: Breck Girl Jesus


Don’t discount how much those of us truly strong women are turned off by the effeminate and emasculated liturgies and priests we have encountered in the post Vat II parishes. They remade Christ in their image and neither a manly man nor strong woman would want to follow the lisping, limp wristed Breck girl Jesus they fashioned.

A commenter over at Father Z’s blog

Every era attempts to remake Jesus in its own image.  What has been done to the image of Christ since 1965, with a few honorable exceptions like the video clip above from Jesus of Nazareth (1977), says ghastly things about us.  Forgive us Lord!

PopeWatch: Cardinal Burke




Well, this is interesting.  Father Z has an excerpt of an interview which appeared in The Wanderer with Cardinal Burke, and Father Z supplies some commentary:


At my old stomping ground The Wanderer (I had a weekly column for 11 years) there is an interview with His Eminence Raymond Leo Card. Burke.  Read the whole thing there, but here is a sample of Part One of the interview, with my patented treatment.


Q. Returning to a point you previously mentioned [about the last, controversial Synod of Bishops], you noted that even though three contentious paragraphs [on divorced, civilly remarried and homosexuals] failed to garner the required two-thirds majority, they were included in the final relatio. You subsequently called for these “hot-button topics” to be removed from consideration. Do you think there is a legitimate possibility that they will be taken off the table prior to the General Synod?
In the meantime, how can faithful Catholics respond to questions regarding the perception of many that the Church is on the verge of changing her teaching? What positive steps can be taken by the laity?

A. I trust that there is a possibility that these topics will be taken off the table prior to the General Synod — that is precisely why I have insisted upon it. But it will not happen easily because those insisting on their consideration are in positions of great influence with regard to the Synod of Bishops.  [Whom I suspect have strong reasons for those paragraphs to remain at the heart of the final resulting document.]
The Church cannot change her teaching on the indissolubility of marriage and the grave sinfulness of sexual relations outside the matrimonial union and the grave sinfulness of homosexual acts. [Before some nitwit out there says that “Burke is a homophobe!”, note that he speaks of “acts” not “persons”.]
The laity needs to nourish themselves with the teaching of the Church’s Magisterium on marriage, with the teaching that is contained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. They must also give witness to it in their everyday dealings, not only with other Catholics but with people who are not of the Catholic Faith, to make it clear that the Church is not changing her teaching — indeed, that she cannot.  [That’s right.  And it is even more important, by factors of hundreds, for priests and bishops to do this in the clearest possible language.  We must not rest or be complacent, because the … other side is not going to be!]
I am hopeful that there will be opportunities for the lay faithful to take part in days of study with regard to the Church’s teaching on marriage and its beauty. I also hope that there might be demonstrations and other public manifestations in support of the truth about marriage.

Q. “Who am I to judge?” continues to be a phrase that is used and misused by the media and is a source of confusion among many of the lay faithful. In your opinion, what steps need to be taken by the Church’s Magisterium to correct misperceptions of this statement? When is it acceptable to make judgments and when is it not?

A. The phrase “Who am I to judge?” is one that I have to understand according to sound Catholic teaching and practice, namely, “Who am I to judge the individual?” We have always withheld judgment on an individual because to be in grave sin, one must have knowledge and full consent of the will. The Church has always taught that we love the sinner, but we hate the sin.
On the other hand, a person is bound to judge evil acts as evil. We cannot pretend — tolerance cannot fly in the face of truth. We are held to judge if we see an act which is objectively disordered — to make that judgment. For instance, if people are involved in extramarital activities, one must be charitable to them, loving the sinner but at the same time being very clear that the acts they are committing are gravely immoral.


And then…


Q. Please comment on the connection between the Sacred Liturgy and the New Evangelization. [A good question!  I think there is a straight line between them, so much so that without a renewal of our sacred worship, using what Summorum Pontificum has given us, no of “New Evangelization” can succeed.] Is the Sacred Liturgy a peripheral matter to the preaching of the Gospel? Or does the Sacred Liturgy play an essential role in the Gospel imperative to proclaim Jesus Christ? If the two activities of the Church are in fact essentially connected, how can this connection be shown more clearly and lived more compellingly within the ordinary parish setting? Does a wide celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass have any part to play in the efforts of the New Evangelization?

A. The Sacred Liturgy is absolutely the first act of the New Evangelization. [YES!  I recently heard another Cardinal speak about various challenges we face and the issue of liturgy didn’t come up until about 47 minutes into the presentation.] Unless we worship God in spirit and in truth, unless we celebrate the Sacred Liturgy with the greatest possible faith in God and faith in the divine action which takes place in Holy Mass, we are not going to have the inspiration and the grace to carry out the New Evangelization.
The Sacred Liturgy shows us the form of the New Evangelization because it is a direct encounter with the mystery of faith: Christ’s redemptive Incarnation for the sake of conquering sin in our lives and winning for us the grace of the divine life, a share in the life of the Holy Trinity through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit into our hearts.
The first three commandments all have to do with the worship of God. It is the Sacred Liturgy which establishes a right relationship with God and with one another which we are called to live in our daily lives.  [Exactly what I am always harping about.]
The way this connection can be more compellingly lived in parish life is by celebrating the Sacred Liturgy in such a way that all of the faithful understand that the priest is acting in the person of Christ. They must understand that it is Christ Himself Who is descending to our altars to make truly present His sacrifice; that they must unite their hearts to His own glorious pierced Heart to cleanse them from sin and thus strengthen them for love of God and love of neighbor.
If the Sacred Liturgy is celebrated in an anthropocentric way, in a horizontal way in which it is no longer evident that it is a divine action, it simply becomes a social activity that can be relativized along with everything else — it doesn’t have any lasting impact on one’s life.  [Alas, the Novus Ordo lends itself, through its structure, wordiness, options, etc., to this horizontality.]
I think the celebration of the Extraordinary Form can have a very significant part to play in the New Evangelization because of its emphasis on the transcendence of the Sacred Liturgy. In other words, it emphasizes the reality of the union of Heaven and earth through the Sacred Liturgy. The action of Christ through the signs of the sacrament, through His priests, is very evident in the Extraordinary Form. It helps us, then, to be more reverent also in the celebration of the Ordinary Form. [And, I’ll add, it is good to use it not just because it helps reverence in the Ordinary Form.  The use of the Extraordinary Form is good in itself and not just because there are other practical knock-on effects.]


Regarding both issues I excerpted for this post, I remind the readership that …

… if we are not on offense, we are on defense.

We must not be complacent.

We cannot forget about what happened at the last Synod of Bishops and then imagine that everything is going to be smooth and perfect at the next meeting in October 2015.  The “hot button” issues are not going away.  They are not going to die out.  On the contrary.

Also, we have Summorum Pontificum.   USE. IT.  Those of you who have obtained what you want… don’t just sit complacently and imagine that everything is fine now and that you don’t have to do anything else.  In fact, some of you may simply be benefiting from the efforts and sacrifices of others.   GET TO WORK.   Get involved.  Make the use of the older, traditional use of Holy Mass and sacraments spread.   Form an “action item” group.  Develop some projects and goals.   Help priests who want to learn to learn.  Advertise, invite, persuade.  Take out ads in papers. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

January 8, 1815: Battle of New Orleans


The War of 1812 had been one with little glory for Americans.  The invasions of Canada all failed, often the officers in charge displaying shocking military incompetence.  Although the American Navy performed valiantly, the Royal Navy maintained control of the waves, and with the fall of Napoleon, veteran British troops from the Peninsular War were shipped across the Atlantic and inflicted such humiliations as the burning of Washington.  On January 8, 1815 Major General Andrew Jackson and his rude frontier army of regulars and militia, confronted a British regular force twice their size.  What followed was an amazing American victory.  One of the finest accounts of the battle was written by Theodore Roosevelt:


Battle of New Orleans



Packenham had under him nearly 10,000 fighting men; 1,500 of these, under Colonel Thornton were to cross the river and make the attack on the west bank. Packenham himself was to super intend the main assault, on the east bank, which was to be made by the British right under General Gibbs, while the left moved forward under General Keane, and General Lambert commanded the reserve. Jackson’s position was held by a total of 5,500 men. Having kept a constant watch on the British, Jackson had rightly concluded that they would make the main attack on the east bank, and had, accordingly, kept the bulk of his force on that side. His works consisted simply of a mud breastwork, with a ditch in front of it, which stretched in a straight line from the river on his right across the plain, and some distance into the morass that sheltered his left. There was a small, unfinished redoubt in front of the breastworks on the river bank. Thirteen pieces of artillery were mounted on the works. On the right was posted the Seventh regular infantry, 430 strong; then came 740 Louisiana militia (both French creoles and men of color, and comprising 30 New Orleans riflemen, who were Americans), and 240 regulars of the Forty-fourth regiment; while the rest of the line was formed by nearly 500 Kentuckians and over 1,600 Tennesseeans, under Carroll and Coffee, with 250 creole militia in the morass on the extreme left, to guard the head of a bayou. In the rear were 230 dragoons, chiefly from Mississippi, and some other troops in reserve; making in all 4,700 men on the east bank. The works on the west bank were farther down stream, and were very much weaker. . . . →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Blaming the Victims

Fan of Free Speech

Bill Donohue of the Catholic League is fuzzy on this whole free speech thing:

Bill Donohue comments on the killing of 12 people at the Paris office of the newspaper Charlie Hebdo:

Killing in response to insult, no matter how gross, must be unequivocally condemned. That is why what happened in Paris cannot be tolerated. But neither should we tolerate the kind of intolerance that provoked this violent reaction.

Those who work at this newspaper have a long and disgusting record of going way beyond the mere lampooning of public figures, and this is especially true of their depictions of religious figures. For example, they have shown nuns masturbating and popes wearing condoms. They have also shown Muhammad in pornographic poses. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading


Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus


An interesting picture of the Pope and the Pope Emeritus.  Let’s have some fun with it!  Time to write thought balloons.  An example:

Pope Francis:  I wonder if he is jealous about the slobbering media coverage I receive!

Pope Benedict:  I wonder if he is jealous that I no longer have to care a fig about the media!


Contribute your thought balloons in the comboxes.

Murder as Censorship



Back in 2011 I had a post on one craven reaction to the firebombing of the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.  Go here to read it.  Well, now some group has gone far beyond firebombing to shut that magazine down:


Gunmen have attacked the Paris office of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, killing 11 people and injuring 10, French officials say.

Witnesses spoke of sustained gunfire at the office as the attackers opened fire with assault rifles.

The satirical weekly has courted controversy in the past with its take on news and current affairs.

Its latest tweet was a cartoon of the Islamic State militant group leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

An eyewitness, Benoit Bringer, told French TV channel Itele: “Two black-hooded men entered the building with Kalashnikovs. A few minutes later we heard lots of shots.”

The men were then seen fleeing the building.

“It’s carnage,” French police official Luc Poignant told another French channel, BFMTV.

The magazine was fire-bombed in November 2011 a day after it carried a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

PopeWatch: Papal Cheerleading Squad




In regard to Pope Francis it is helpful to look at views from abroad.  Rorate Caeli has a translation of a recent article by Italian journalist Matteo Carnieletto:

Matteo Carnieletto

Il Giornale
January 3, 2015


Let’s be honest: the most progressive fringe of the Church likes Francis. This is the fringe that during the pontificate of Benedict XVI kept attacking the Pope, and now they are dressed up as papal cheerleaders who are always at hand to defend the Pope—the Pope, please note, who is Francis, not the papacy as an institution. Right from the time of the publication of Non è Francesco by Antonio Socci, the new defenders of the “Church that is poor and for the poor” have not hesitated to come to the defense of the Pope by harshly attacking that Siena journalist. The same thing happened at the publication of the article by Vittorio Messori this past December 24. In fact, Paolo Farinella, a priest and writer for Il Fatto Quotidiano, who defined the pontificate of Benedict XVI as “a disaster for the Church”, launched an appeal to stop the attacks on Pope Francis. Has Farinella undergone a conversion to orthodox Catholicism? Not at all. He has simply found in Francis an ideal mouthpiece.


Among those who signed the appeal is the group “We Are Church”, who with great gusto expressed their appreciation for Benedict’s act of resignation: “the most innovative act of his pontificate”; Alex Zanotelli, the pacifist missionary who has said that he came to understand who Christ was thanks to Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Don Milani and Don Mazzolari; the Christian Base Communities, who, on their website, posted a review of a book called The Queer God, or rather “the poof God, the faggot God”, published by Claudiana, the Waldensian publishing house. And finally (but the list could go on and on) among the signatures is that of don Aldo Antonelli, “a troublesome and red priest” who, with candor, wrote on November 1, 2007: “Dear Pope Benedict, I do not understand you.” And after a long series of recommendations that were not asked for, he concluded: “In my theological studies I learned that we priests are supposed to be talking to poor beggars of this earth like Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31). But I have the impression that you prefer to have conversations with men like Dives,” that is, with the rich and powerful.
In this way the parties are reversed. The apologists like Messori and Socci who have always defended the Church, now find themselves in the role of “adversaries”, who are attacked by those who, casting away the clothes of the street priest, are now wearing the pontifical livery.

→']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

PopeWatch: Green Religion




The Pope seems to want two contradictory things:  an economy that lifts more people out of poverty and ever tightening environmental regulations.  Stephen Moore, chief economist of The Heritage Foundation, notes in an op-ed in Times that the environmental policies embraced by the Pope would make the poor poorer:


Pope Francis— and I say this as a Catholic — is a complete disaster when it comes to his policy pronouncements. On the economy, and now on the environment, the pope has allied himself with the far left and has embraced an ideology that would make people poorer and less free.

Pope Francis is reportedly preparing a lengthy encyclical message to the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics on the need for decisive action on climate change and will speak before the United Nations General Assembly on this subject this year. The pope recently declared: “The monopolizing of lands, deforestation, the appropriation of water, inadequate agro-toxics are some of the evils that tear man from the land of his birth. Climate change, the loss of biodiversity and deforestation are already showing their devastating effects in the great cataclysms we witness.”

This is the language of the radical green movement that is at its core anti-Christian, anti-human being and anti-progress. He has aligned himself with a secular movement that is antithetical to the fundamental theological underpinning of Catholicism — the sanctity of human life and the value of all souls.

The modern pagan green religion in developed nations needs to be denounced by the Vatican. These are the people and organizations that have come to believe that an excessive number of human beings is destroying Mother Earth.

Some of the great atrocities of the past half-century have been borne of this belief that the world is overpopulated. Has the Vatican forgotten the detestable and immoral population-control policies, including, eugenics, tens of millions of forced abortions and forced sterilizations, and one-child policies — all in the name of greens trying to save the planet? It was Pope John Paul II who heroically denounced this theology and reminded Catholics and all other Christians that human beings are resource creators, not resource destroyers.

The Vatican’s warning that we are witnessing “great cataclysms” of weather events is contradicted by scientific evidence. The numbers of hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, typhoons, monsoons, earthquakes, floods, freezes and so on are not on the rise, as even the U.S. government’s own numbers confirm. The pope has been snookered. The best way to counteract death and destruction from severe acts of Mother Nature is through economic development. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Jackson’s Motley Army


I guess there may have been a more heterogeneous force that fought a major battle in American history than the one that Andrew Jackson commanded on January 8, 1815, but it does not readily come to mind.  Here was the composition of his army:

1.  968 US Army regulars-Many of these men were from the 7th Infantry Regiment that had garrisoned New Orleans during 1814 and had a reputation for being slackly disciplined hell raisers.  The remainder were from the 44th Infantry Regiment recruited in Louisiana.

2.  58 Marines.

3.  106 Sailors of the US Naval Battalion.

4.  1060 Louisiana Militia, including 462 free blacks.  The free blacks responded to an appeal from Jackson that said they would be treated precisely the same as white volunteers and not subject to sarcasm and insult.  Jackson was as good as his word, but the State of Louisiana did not give them the promised 160 acre land grants that white volunteers received.  Many of the white Louisianans spoke only French, but the language barrier did not stop them and their black comrades from rendering good service in the battle.

5.  986 Kentucky Militia-The Kentuckians gave a poor account of themselves in the battle but it wasn’t their fault.  Most of them were unarmed, the Army sending them to New Orleans and shipping their rifles and ammo separately.  These items arrived four days after the battle.  A disgusted Jackson said they were the first Kentuckians he had ever seen who didn’t have a rifle, a deck of cards and a jug.

6.  150 Mississippi Militia.

7.  52 Choctaw Warriors-The Choctaws did good service as snipers and killed at least 50 British soldiers.

8.  1352 Tennessee militia and volunteers.  The mainstay of Jackson’s army, many of them had served under Jackson throughout the Creek War in 1813-1814.

9.  Baratarian Pirates-Jean Lafitte’s pirates.  Jackson had offered Lafitte a free pardon for every one of his men who fought.  The pirates formed three artillery companies and also fought with the militia.  Their exact numbers are unknown, but my best guess would be 400-600.  The pirates won accolades for their fighting prowess in the battle, with Jackson singling out for praise Jean and his brother Pierre. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Quotes Suitable for Framing: Saint John Chrysostom

Churchill Redistribution



Should we look to kings and princes to put right the inequalities between rich and poor? Should we require soldiers to come and seize the rich person’s gold and distribute it among his destitute neighbors? Should we beg the emperor to impose a tax on the rich so great that it reduces them to the level of the poor and then to share the proceeds of that tax among everyone? Equality imposed by force would achieve nothing, and do much harm.

Those who combined both cruel hearts and sharp minds would soon find ways of making themselves rich again. Worse still, the rich whose gold was taken away would feel bitter and resentful; while the poor who received the gold form the hands of soldiers would feel no gratitude, because no generosity would have prompted the gift. Far from bringing moral benefit to society, it would actually do moral harm. Material justice cannot be accomplished by compulsion, a change of heart will not follow. The only way to achieve true justice is to change people’s hearts first — and then they will joyfully share their wealth.

Saint John Chrysostom, from On Living Simply, Homily XLIII

Update:  I have been unable to properly source this with any of Saint John’s work available on the net. The quotation is cited as coming from On Living Simply, a compilation of sayings from the writings of Saint John.  I can see no evidence of the quote itself on the net prior to 2007.  Unless this quote can properly be sourced to an original writing of  Saint John, I am going to assume that it is a fake internet quote, one of the minor banes of modern life.  Sorry for my error in posting this.

PopeWatch: Marx




Sigh.  PopeWatch does wish that the only Marx Popes paid any attention to were the ones nicknamed Groucho, Chico and Harpo.  Reinhard Cardinal Marx gave a recent demonstration as to why PopeWatch believes this:


→']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Prelude to the Battle of New Orleans


Upon the commencement of the War of 1812, Jackson immediately volunteered for active service.  Nothing happened.  Jackson assumed he was not called to duty due to his vigorous opposition to many of the policies of Thomas Jefferson, Madison’s predecessor.  ( It probably didn’t help Jackson that Aaron Burr,  former vice-president and deadly enemy of Jefferson, had stayed three days with Jackson during his  treasonous trip to the West in 1805, although there is no evidence of Jackson’s involvement in Burr’s plot.)

Jackson’s chance for military action came in 1813-1814 during the Creek War.  After a very tough campaign, Jackson decisively defeated the Red Stick Creeks at the battle of Horseshoe Bend on March 27, 1814.  On the battlefield, Jackson found a two year old Creek boy with his dead mother.  Jackson adopted him as his son, named him Lyncoya, and brought him home with him to the Hermitage and raised him with his other adopted son, Andrew Jackson, Jr.  Jackson planned to have him educated at West Point, because he believed it to be the best school in the nation, but the boy died of tuberculosis in 1828.  Jackson, the great foe of the Indians, is the only American president to adopt an Indian child.  Jackson was nothing if not complicated.

The campaign against the Red Stick Creeks had made Jackson a national figure.  It also almost killed him.  Suffering from a chronic stomach disorder, Jackson could only get relief from the pain by bending a sapling and leaning over it with the sapling pressed against his stomach.  The campaign was arduous for his troops also, a mixture of militia and regulars.  On one occasion the militia decided they had had enough and began to march home.  Jackson used the regulars to stop them.  On another occasion the regulars decided they were through, and Jackson used the militia to force them to return to their duties.  When both militia and regulars decided to leave on yet another occasion, Jackson rode to the head of the troops, aimed a musket at them and made it quite clear that he would kill the next man to take a step.  The men looked at Jackson, Jackson gazed back at them, and they returned to camp.  Afterwards, Jackson ordered that the musket be repaired as it couldn’t have fired in any case.  Most of the men Jackson led were frontiersmen and had a great deal of experience in cutting down trees.  The toughest wood they knew of was Hickory, and Old Hickory, and doubtless some other unprintable ones that have not come down to us, is the nickname they gave their determined general.

While Jackson was crushing the Red Sticks, the War of 1812 was going badly for the country.  With the abdication of Napoleon, hordes of British veteran troops were sent across the Atlantic to teach the Yankees a lesson.  The burning of Washington in August 1814 was part of the lesson, and the American government had intelligence that a mighty British fleet and army were on their way to seize New Orleans.  In August 1814 a British fleet established a base, with the consent of the Spanish government, at Pensacola, Florida, and used it to supply Indians hostile to the US.  On November 7, 1814, Jackson seized Pensacola, chased the British troops out and destroyed the fortifications.  The British fleet sailed off and Jackson marched to New Orleans.

Jackson arrived at New Orleans with his rough frontier army of militia and regulars on December 2, 1814.   He had beaten the Brits to New Orleans but just barely.  The British fleet appeared in the Gulf of Mexico just off New Orleans on December 12.  The British force on board the fleet was commanded by Major General Thomas Pakenham, the Duke of Wellington’s brother-in-law.  Pakenham was a combat general and had received laurels for his courage and professionalism in many of the battles that Wellington fought in Spain.  Brushing aside a small American naval force that guarded access to the lakes that led to New Orleans, by December 23 an 1800 man vanguard of the British troops was ashore on the east bank of the Mississippi, nine miles south of New Orleans.  When Jackson learned of this, he did what he usually did when confronted with a sudden challenge:  he attacked.  Leading 2131 men in a short, sharp night attack, Jackson inflicted about 250 casualties in exchange for about the same losses on his part.  He then withdrew to the Rodriguez Canal four miles south of New Orleans and began to fortify it. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Follow TAC by Clicking on the Buttons Below
Bookmark and Share
Subscribe by eMail

Enter your email:

Recent Comments
Our Visitors. . .
Our Subscribers. . .